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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Divrei Torah

Lessons From the Chanukah Menorah

As we descend the steps from the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem to the Western Wall, many visitors come across the gold replica of the Menorah. The Temple Institute has recreated many of the artifacts and utensils that were once used in the past two Temples, the Beit Hamikdash. Our religion and traditions are inextricably tied to the

Appreciating in Time

Some messages are simply too important to miss. One such message, I believe, emerges from two words in the Talmud’s short discussion of the Chanukah festival. While overwhelmingly vital and powerful, however, this communication is easily missed. We have to be sensitive enough and honest enough to note it.

Teaching Torah

Reb Dovid Winiarz, zt”l, a”h

L’zecher nishmas Reb Dovid Avraham ben Chia Kehas Winiarz, a”h

Rabbi Chanina ben Dosa had once said, “Kol she’ruach habrios noche hemenu, ruach haMakom noche hemenu—One who is pleasing to his fellow

Thanksgiving: More Than Just One Day

There’s a common theme connecting the double whammy of commercialized holidays, which are also known as the Thanksgiving-Black Friday-holiday frenzy. These holidays are about appreciating what we have, who we are with and all of the good things in life. We celebrate the past with friends and family and enjoy the company of others

Peers With God

There’s a concept brought down in Eruvin 31 that mitzvot lav lehanot nitnu, mitzvot were not given for pleasure. Yet Rashi explains that when God told Avraham to go from his land, it was “for [his] benefit and for [his] good.” Is God perhaps negating the rule of mitzvot lav lehanot nitnu —for Avraham is gaining pleasure

Bergenfield’s Ohr HaTorah Kicks Off Motzei Shabbat Learning

The first week of Congregation Ohr HaTorah’s boys’ Motzei Shabbat learning program saw over 50 boys attend with their fathers/grandfathers. The program takes place weekly in Yeshiva Bais Mordechai of Teaneck, with 45 minutes of learning followed by pizza and raffles.

 

Can You Be Good Without God?

Shabbat Parshat Lech Lecha 5778

After Yom Kippur, a young man approached me to thank me for what he said was truly “an inspirational service.” “Rabbi,” he said, “this was my best High Holiday ever—you can count on me being here next year again.” “Next year?” I asked, “what

Being Tamim in Our Generation

Our sedra begins with a description of the “toldot” of Noach, who is described as an “ish tzadik, tamim haya bedorotav,” a righteous man who was pure in his generation. There, Rashi quotes the famous discussion in the Midrash of whether or not this description is in fact complimentary. On the one hand, one could

Back on Tracks

In our home, we take the custom of eating challah with honey during this time of year very seriously. If having honey is symbolic to having a sweet new year, we aren’t taking any chances of abrogating that symbolism.

In our family, the challenge is to douse the challah with the perfect balance

Hashem, Tear Down This Wall

There is a wonderful idiom that “the walls have ears.” It is interpreted to mean that a speaker should be careful, as someone may be listening. President Trump would appreciate this phrase as he is fond of walls and has been dealing with a cacophony of leakers. However, “pashut pshat” should never be fully ignored.

We Should Accept the Differences in All of Klal Yisrael’s Children

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov tells of a prince who became mad and thought he was a turkey. He felt compelled to sit naked under the table, pecking at bones and pieces of bread like a turkey. All the royal physicians gave up hope of curing him of this madness. The king grieved tremendously.

A sage

The Shofar: From Frustration to Fulfillment

We have all experienced frustration at some point in our lives due to difficulty grasping a concept. As cognitively active beings, mankind must make sense of his environment, and if things don’t add up, tension ensues. For some, the challenge of confusion leads to a more concerted effort to arrive at a sensible conclusion. For the